Shortstop options limited for Dodgers
GM Colletti instead could look for offensive third baseman
PHOENIX -- As much as the Dodgers have wanted to land an everyday shortstop to take over for the injured Rafael Furcal, general manager Ned Colletti so far has found the price prohibitive.
The primary rumored players on the market are Pittsburgh's Jack Wilson, Washington's Cristian Guzman and Toronto's David Eckstein.
Another option Colletti said he's considered is to add an offensive third baseman, a position that's been handled most of the year by Blake DeWitt, backed up lately by fellow rookie Andy LaRoche.
Cleveland's Casey Blake, a free agent after this year, reportedly came up in talks that failed to land CC Sabathia and he's still considered an option. Rumors pop up every year at this time that the Dodgers will reacquire Adrian Beltre, whose departure 3 1/2 years ago triggered a revolving door ever since.
At shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra is working out better than expected, although manager Joe Torre offered a cautionary word in light of Garciaparra's health history and the nearly two months he spent on the disabled list this year already.
"I'm comfortable right now. He's able to catch and throw it," said Torre, who watched Garciaparra launch two homers in one game Friday night for the first time since 2002. "We certainly have to be mindful of his health. The guy reached for a ball and his calf exploded."
Because of Garciaparra's brittle history and second baseman Jeff Kent's age (40), Torre finds himself planning to replace both middle infielders for defensive purposes late in games the Dodgers lead. That helped lead him Friday night to hold back infielders Angel Berroa and Luis Maza, resulting in using reliever Hong-Chih Kuo to pinch-hit. Torre also told starting pitcher Eric Stults he might be used as a hitter Friday night. The bench Torre had available Saturday night included no left-handed hitters, while Arizona's bench had three switch-hitters.
Left-handed pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney is eligible to be activated from the disabled list on Saturday, but Torre conceded the club wasn't sure what corresponding move to make, so it didn't make one. He said one option he was considering was to reduce the pitching staff to 11, although using seven relievers Friday night with a series in Coors Field starting Monday night makes that a little dicey on two counts.
Saturday night's lineup did not include Andruw Jones, who left midway through Friday night's game with what he believes was food poisoning. Torre said Jones asked to start Saturday night, but the manager told him he'd rather save him for later in the game than remove him early. Delwyn Young started in left field, with Matt Kemp starting in center.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.